MRC Weekly Digest – October 22nd 2021

By Media Reform Coalition / Friday October 22, 2021 Read More
Hi everyone, Eliz Mizon here with the Media Reform Coalition blog every Friday. For even more media news and analysis, the latest media reform campaigns, and intriguing content from around the web, follow me at Chompsky: Power and Pop Culture For now, here’s your media news digest.

Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins Killed on Set

This morning, we woke up to the news that 42-year-old director of photography Halyna Hutchins has been killed, and director Joel Souza hospitalised after a prop gun misfired on the set of a new Western, Rust. After a couple of weeks of headlines about safety in the industry, it’s devastating to hear of this incident. IATSE members, and in turn all members of the creative industries, need support more than ever for better working conditions.

This Week’s Media News

  • Director of photography Halyna Hutchins was killed on the set of Rust yesterday when a prop gun held by actor/producer Alec Baldwin “misfired”. Little is known about the circumstances, but current safety guidelines prohibit live ammunition on sets. (NYT)
  • The members of the IATSE union came to a “tentative agreement” this week, details of which are still emerging as negotiations continue, avoiding a proposed industry-wide strike by just 24 hours. (IATSE)
  • James and Kathryn Murdoch are planning to make a multi-million dollar investment in a new climate reporting hub at AP. Since Murdoch resigned from the NewsCorp board last year, citing irreconcilable differences over editorial decisions, he has made it known that his and Kathryn’s non-profit Quadrivium Foundation intends to fund other media projects. (Axios)
  • Twitter has shared research findings showing that its algorithms amplify far-right content more than they do content from the left – but that the company is still unsure exactly how and why this happens. (Protocol)
  • Trump is launching a new social media platform. ‘Trump Media and Technology Group and Digital World Acquisition Group’ will launch ‘TRUTH Social’ to “rival the liberal media consortium”. (abc)
  • Following in the footsteps of its agreement struck in Australia, Facebook has signed a preliminary agreement with a lobby group of French news publishers, agreeing to pay for news content on its platforms. (Reuters)
  • Emily Sheffield has stepped down as editor of the Evening Standard, after only a year in the role, during which 40% of the paper’s workforce were fired. (Press Gazette)
  • Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, has agreed to meet with Marcus Ryder after BBC executives claimed that he had been ‘blocked’ from a job he was headhunted for. Sources told journalists that, due to his progressive views on race, there were fears his appointment would appear too ‘controversial’. (The Guardian)
  • Journalists have criticized a “strange” tweet thread written by Facebook’s VP of Global Communications John Pinette, “casting aspersions on dozens of journalists getting ready to report a series of articles based on “thousands of pages” of documents from the company.” (VICE)
  • The UK Competition and Markets Authority has announced a probe into the music industry “to identify – and, if appropriate, to consider how best to tackle – any competition and consumer issues.” Recent government inquiries have questioned the economic practices of the rapidly changing industry, with the majority of artists routinely struggling to make a living. 80% of music is now consumed via ‘Big Tech’ streaming platforms. (
  • Netflix staff staging a walkout in response to the company’s handling of Dave Chappelle’s transphobic material on the platform have released a list of demands. They include investment in trans-led and -focused content, hiring of more diverse staff, and disclaimers at the start of transphobic material that the company decides to host. (The Verge)
  • The Associated Press has released a collection of NFTs on Binance’s marketplace, compiling a number of significant historical newswires and photos from their last century of reporting. The ‘Unique Moments’ collection has 4 tiers of “rarity level”: Normal (N), Rare (R), Super Rare (SR), and Super Super Rare (SSR). (CoinDesk)
  • Twitter and entertainment magazine Variety have joined forces to create a ‘first-of-its-kind’ TV trending chart, ranking the most tweeted TV shows. (Variety)
  • Veteran journalist Joseph Harker has been announced as The Guardian’s senior exec of diversity and development. He says he wants “to make sure all people from all backgrounds feel at ease here”. (Press Gazette)
  (Written by Eliz Mizon, edited by Cléo Celeste)